DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Would Jesus use an IPhone? Christian Leaders Use of Technology and the Internet

Written by: on February 16, 2014

Stephen Garner in his chapter Theology and the new media, shares his thoughts about developing and reflecting about a theology of technology and the internet. Garner challenges his audience to expand theology from just talking about religion to reflecting about the internet from the Christian tradition p. 252. He further expounds upon three areas to reflect about technology from Barbour as liberator, oppressor and instrument. In reflecting about Garner’s insights, I like the idea of developing a theology towards the internet as a Christian leader. Ten years ago, I never envisioned spending half my days in front of a computer screen answering hundreds of emails, developing business plans and researching many subjects to improve my business goals. And if I am not at my computer, I always have my IPhone chirping at me to answer new emails, texts or search for addresses or subjects of interest. Garner, challenged me to think about guidelines for Christian leaders in using technology that continues to dominate our time and thinking. Some of my first reflections went to how would Jesus use the technology we have today? I believe he would use an IPhone as it is one of the most advanced communication tools ever developed. In my mind, guidelines based around Jesus’ lifestyle and teachings would be a good place to start. He met with individuals one on one. Nicodemus, a high ranking religious leader came to Jesus alone to have life questions answered (John 3:1-21). Jesus met with groups of people. He spent three years of his life teaching his group of 12 disciples (John 4:27-38). Jesus spoke to thousands of people (Matthew 5:1 and John 6:1-15). The internet has broken down global barriers and enables us to speak to millions of international people, our close friends through Facebook and one on one through email. The internet enables us to join in the debate of the issues we face today to share our Christian values in a meaningful and insightful way. One of the dangers of communication to others by the internet is by-product of becoming isolated and neglect the meeting face to face with human touch and compassion. By reflecting about how and how much we use the internet, we can develop the discipline of balance in life and deliberately carve time out of our schedules for face to face meetings. Another way Jesus guides us is filtering the internet through his teachings. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:27) gives us Christian ethical guidelines on how to use the internet for good and to side-step the traps of being lured into areas can cause immoral and addictive behaviors. As a Christian leader, I find that following Jesus’ example of praying in the morning, helps me to set the day to live my Christian values in my daily actions. Praying in the morning gives me opportunities to reflect about my schedule for that day and to think through how I might help the people I meet. This practice also enables me to judge how balanced or imbalanced my day may be regarding technology use. There are many guidelines that come to mind as to how to use a theology of technology to make a difference in others lives but not enough space is available in a short blog. In summation, in developing a theology for technology to guide Christian leaders, Jesus’ life example and teachings are a good place to start. How would you develop your theology of technology to guide your life? Garner, Stephen R. “Theology and the New Media.” In Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds, edited by Heidi Campbell, 251-65. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2012.

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Mark Steele

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